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Listen, Ron. Have you ever heard of synergy?

Jo Scully, Assistant Strategy Planning Director   |   22nd April 2016

I bet if I asked you what Ron Burgundy’s reaction would have been to the free drinks bar on offer at Adweek, you’d have a pretty good idea. This character, thanks to the wonderful storytelling provided by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, is so ingrained in our minds that we could probably imagine his response any situation: Oculus Rift; Snapchat. See?

When it comes to script writing, building a strong, well developed character is crucial. It gives her/him a reason to be there, a role in the world. This role has to be clearly demonstrated throughout the script. It doesn’t need to be typical, in fact the odder sometimes the better. However, it does have to be believable and ultimately relatable. Neglecting to build such characters would be fatal to a script and leave the audience unengaged, unsympathetic and indifferent.

We are faced with the same rules when building a brand. A brand builds immense value for a company, as can be seen with the large amounts of money that have been exchanged for the likes of Budweiser, Jaguar and Cadbury. A strong brand promotes recognition, provides differentiation, builds emotional connections. It is a promise of expectation.

We have heard a lot at Adweek Europe about the concept of “Brand Storytelling”, and how it is the easiest way to get people to do what you want them to do or believe what you want them to believe. It certainly can be, but not if you haven’t got your character right.

I work in the wonderful world of OOH, and it is such a pleasure to see brands successfully using the medium to tell and develop their stories. Carlsberg are a great example of this. They have developed a strong character and story for that character to play in, which means they are able to wade in on a variety of relevant live topics/events and provide a genuine, valuable exchange with consumers (I am thinking most recently about the reactionary ‘Beer Body Ready’ DOOH ads and the pop up ‘Chocolate Bar’ at Easter). Carlsberg’s strong tone of voice enabled them to add to the conversation in the area of social media and cut through in a very short space of time (which is, by all accounts, all we have these days).

We know OOH can provide a fantastic canvas for brands to publically share and develop their stories, and it has consequently become the most efficient channel for generating word of mouth. However, brands, like characters, are not built in instantaneous snap moments. Using a media channel to link yourself to an event, issue or news story without first knowing what role you have in that world and what story you are seeking to develop, is an ineffective way to try and connect with an audience, and can damage a brand’s perception. Simply holding up a camera up to the world does not make a brand a storyteller, simply a broadcaster.

We talk a lot about relevancy in OOH, and how much of an impact this can have on performance. Pimms can happily chirp up on a sunny day to announce Pimms O’Clock; Specsavers when a footballer has taken a bite out of a person and not a food item. But imagine if it was the other way around. Would Pimms do themselves any favours calling out Suarez, or Specsavers celebrating over a spot of sunshine? Probably not. They’d leave the audience unengaged, unsympathetic and indifferent.

I would therefore suggest the term synergy is better applied (ouch...that sounded painfully like a line from Anchorman 2). Synergy can develop characters, move the story along, and provide that all important authenticity required for an audience to relate. The more they care about the characters, the more emotion they’ll invest in your story. And maybe that’s the secret.

To synergy!

"As an industry, I believe, we have forgotten the power of repetition. Effective communication isn't small. It isn't cheap. It isn't once."
"Advertising isn’t supposed to be private. It’s supposed to be overheard, shared, stumbled across and discovered."
"And then there’s advertising’s past. The intrusive, inflexibile and mute billboards. They feel like throwbacks to the old way of doing things. A flat image with an unyielding rule that the consumer can take in no more than eight words (unless they’re Economist readers). How boring. How old school. Until you remember 2015's ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ campaign. Simple, traditional and utterly un-missable pieces of art in the urban landscape."
"Out of Home is the oldest medium of all There’s still huge power in the public message – the power of the public comment. It’s a big thing – it’s why people get married in front of an audience of 150; it gives a public sense of commitment."
"We've chosen to use digital to make everything more efficient...but we've forgotten how to explore and discover. It's a loss of serendipity and we've lost a lot of the humanity. We're becoming very reliant upon digital and the internet to make us incredibly efficient and we're losing out."
"The beauty of OOH is that it can double as a TV screen, a social feed, a camera, a vending machine, a download site, or a purchase point."
"OOH is constantly evolving, and its ability to integrate so brilliantly with new technology is one of its main strengths."
"Media changes, driven by digitisation, have left consumers facing a tyranny of choice—yet OOH is a channel that can still deliver huge audiences, and can increasingly do so in creative and engaging ways."
"The Out of Home sector has been tremendously resilient throughout the recessionary years, showing consistent growth driven by its fundamental benefits. In an ever-fragmenting media landscape, you can still reach pretty much the entire population, all at the same time."
"Out of Home is booming right now: OOH is the most ubiquitous media – you can’t turn the page, change the channel or switch it off, and Out of Home continues to integrate itself brilliantly with other new and innovative technologies."
"Posters decorate the world "
"Speed of change is all around us and no more so than in the rate at which advertising investment in traditional posters is being transitioned to include a far more flexible Out of Home canvas; the digital poster."
"I love OOH because the diversity of opportunities makes it a realistic option for almost any client. Add to this the ever growing possibilities for new innovation and it’s a media channel that is truly exciting to both agencies and clients alike."
"As DOOH becomes more “digital,” it becomes more agile, richer, and better able to play its part in a big idea. As a plugged in medium, DOOH can be the active element in a multi-layered campaign. It can create buzz, break news, invite interaction, and help to drive content and discussions online. Great DOOH campaigns are ones that sit comfortably within the wider brand strategy and capture the imagination."
"By its very nature, Out of Home’s remoteness from the consumer living room, from the office, and from the home computer, has made it a natural bedfellow of mobile marketing."
"OOH inhabits a wonderful space in which we benefit from a rich heritage of memorable, iconic campaigns and a truly exciting future unfolding before us. A broadcast medium that just keeps getting better."
"DOOH is a really interesting storytelling medium, beyond advertising. It allows you to touch and feel and interact in a way no other medium does. That's the real beauty of it, and usually overlooked"
"Show me any brief, for any client and any campaign and I guarantee that OOH will be able to have a justifiable role to play as part of the media solution. That role maybe big or small; local or national, classic, digital or both, large format, small format or anything in between... but it will be justifiable and worthwhile. There isn’t any other medium that can replicate that claim, or indeed come anywhere near doing so."
"London’s very large public transport network carries a great deal of OOH advertising. As a result, London alone has 170,000 advertising sites, more than 40 per cent of the national total. This makes London the most valuable city for OOH advertising in Europe and among the most important in the world."
"Digital OOH networks are multi-sensory and with the development of touch technology things are moving fast. Stimulating the senses more creatively generates social shares, great PR and awards."
"Central London will undergo a transformation and cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will get even brighter and more connected"
"It makes sense for the most welcomed and least intrusive media to deliver presence for brands interacting through the media"
"OOH remains the flexible canvas for which a guaranteed audience is never too far away"
"OOH may be the oldest medium, yet it has shown remarkable resilience in reinventing itself"
"Smarter brands are contextualising their ad messaging, reaching a target audience when it matters most and can change behaviour"
"Poster sites really are the last true broadcast medium capable of near universal reach"
"Immediacy, targeting and excitement are what DOOH can offer that other media can't - its just very very cool.The opportunities are endless"
"The combination of classic and DOOH should be an intoxicating mix for any marketing director"
"Out of Home is an accountable, measurable and effective media for advertisers"
"Reaching people in the right place, at the right time is still Out of Home’s biggest strength"
"Posters are the purest and most effective form of communication"
"I would advise marketers using OOH not to see a poster as a Wikipedia entry, think of it as a piece of art"
"OOH engages hard to reach audiences on the move with inspiring and innovative communications"
"Using data to plan OOH enhances campaign performance by up to 200%"
"London is the most valuable city for OOH advertising... and among the most important in the world "
"Super premium digital Out of Home is one of the quickest ways to get into the conversation and make your brand famous"
"For a brand to live, it needs to appeal not only to the people who buy it, but also to the people who know about it "
"Media isn’t about the number of impressions you make. Media is about the power of the impression you make."
"In advertising, we have the power to change minds, change beliefs and change the world"
"DOOH offers deeper engagement than other media, more of a story and feedback"